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Jaime Headden wrote:

> A lumbering scavenger would also have not probably bitten a
> *Triceratops'* face as indicated by the specimen (don't know the number)
> that had *Tyrannosaurus* teeth embedded in the skull. Now, while we can
> think that no self-respecting T. rex would go after a living trike in
> the face, with those 3 foot horns (with keratin applied to them, 4.5
> feet) sticking forward and up, a possible retort would be what T. rex
> would go after a _dead_ trike's face, covered as it was by very little
> meat and a lot of tough skin and hide.

IS there any way of telling what direction the bite came from on this trike
specimen, forward or behind?

> And just in case anyone's wondering, hyenas are more likely to hunt down
> prey than lions, and are more effective at it, as well, with their
> "scavenger" bodies (huge, bone crushing teeth, strong jaws, powerful
> neck, forward torso enlarged and strengthed to anchor the neck, and hind
> limbs well-built to power the whole body). If a hyena were the size of a
> lion, the former would win out in almost any battle the two might
> possibly have, exclusively because the hyena is better built to kill,
> not scavenge. Lions rely on precise applications of their otherwise
> slender, delicate canines to pierce flesh in the region of the backbone,
> otherwise they hang on and attempt to weary the prey down till they
> start feeding---mostly when the unfortunate zebra's still alive.

A couple of misconceptions here.  Lions and hyenas are always competitors
for the top predator slot.  One usually kills, the other usually scavenges
-- but depending on where you go in Africa, either species might fill either
role.  In some areas, the hyenas do most of the killing and the lions
scavenge.  In other areas, the lions do most of the killing and the hyenas
scavenge.  In still other areas, both lions and hyenas kill, and both will
scavenge given a chance.  There's no known modern large carnivore that is a
pure scavenger, yes, but on the other hand there's only one modern large
carnivore that will never scavenge, and that may be more a matter of
necessity than preference.  No cheetah has ever been observed to scavenge
another animal's kill, but then cheetahs are not the bravest of cats, and
dead animals in Africa are usually covered by other scavengers within
minutes.  Point is, evolving as a hunter doesn't exclude scavenging as a
secondary or even primary method of finding food.

Personally, I have trouble believing that anything as big as T. rex could
find enough food to keep itself going _exclusively_ by scavenging, unless
there were an _awful_ lot of dead dinosaurs around, due either to frequent
disease or to another predator that had a habit of leaving partial carcasses
in its wake.  That's just an opinion, obviously, but it's all I've got til
somebody produces better evidence one way or the other.

-- Jon W.